NCAA Southeast Regional Match-ups Set for Thursday park
The teams are set and the storyline could not be any better for the Crescent City as Butler, BYU, Florida and Wisconsin have each punched their tickets for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Southeast Regional in New Orleans.
The regionals will be played at New Orleans Arena with a pair of regional semifinal games on Thursday, March 24 with
BYU meeting Florida at 6:27 p.m. CST and Wisconsin taking on Butler at 8:57 p.m. CST. The winners of the two games will square off in the regional final on Saturday, March 26 (Time TBA). The winner will earn a berth in the 2011 Final Four at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl is part of the hosting committee for this year's Southeast Regional, the 11h Regional Championship for New Orleans, as well as for the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four. The Sugar Bowl is part of the support group for host school Tulane University. The 2012 Final Four, to be played in the Louisiana Superdome, will be the fifth Final Four for the Crescent City.
This Wednesday will feature an open practice day for each of the teams and the public is invited to come watch each squad's one-hour practice at New Orleans Arena beginning at noon. Parking and admission to Wednesday's open practice day is free of charge.
Butler (25-9) is the No. 8 seed and is the lowest seeded team to advance to the Southeast Regional. The Bulldogs put together a Cinderella season a year ago by advancing to the national championship game before falling to Duke in the waning moments. Butler's story is in the midst of a second act after the team knocked off top-seeded Pitt, 71-70, in a wild finish last Saturday. The Bulldogs opened the tournament with a thriller against Old Dominion and got a tip-in at the buzzer to advance with a 60-58 victory.
BYU (32-4) has been a top story all season with national player of the year candidate Jimmer Fredette leading the way. Fredette has scored 1,002 points this season and is the nation's top scorer at 28.6 points per game. The No. 3 seed Cougars downed Wofford behind Fredette's 32 points and then topped Gonzaga, 89-67, behind 34 point from Fredette in the third round.
Florida (28-7) is a No. 2 seed and is the highest seed to make it to New Orleans. The Gators have won two national titles in the past five years and are familiar with the Crescent City. In 2007, Florida opened defense of their national championship at New Orleans Arena and four games later repeated as the top team in the land. The Gators opened the tournament with a 79-61 win over UC Santa Barbara and then got past UCLA 73-66 to earn its trip to the "Sweet Sixteen."
A No. 4 seed, Wisconsin (25-8) has been steady all year and was the first team to knock current top overall seed Ohio State from the ranks of the undefeated during the regular season. The Badgers escaped a scare from Belmont, 72-68, in the second round and then outlasted Kansas State, 70-66, in the third round to advance to the Southeast Regional semifinals.
New Orleans Southeast Regional Information
Wednesday, March 23 – Open Practice Day
Thursday, March 24 – Regional Semifinal Game Day
(3) BYU vs. (2) Florida- 6:27 p.m. CST
(4) Wisconsin vs. (8) Butler- 8:57 p.m. CST
Friday, March 25 – News Conference Day
**Saturday, March 26 – Regional Final Game Day
Game No. 1 winner vs. Game No. 2 winner
*game times for regional final will be announced on Thursday following regional semifinals
Wednesday Open Practice Times
Practices (open to media and general public)
12-12:50 p.m. BYU
1-1:50 p.m. Butler
2:10-3 p.m. Wisconsin
3:10-4 p.m. Florida
$168 for two sessions (3 games)
Website: Ticket Master
The previous four Final Fours in New Orleans have all been among the most memorable in the event's grand history. In 1982, Dean Smith captured his first National Championship as a freshman named Michael Jordan buried the game-winning shot to upend Georgetown. In 1987, it was Bobby Knight and Indiana defeating Syracuse on a baseline jumper by Keith Smart. Smith was back again in 1993, as his North Carolina team defeated the Fab Five from Michigan. And in 2003, Jim Boeheim made up for his 1987 loss as freshman Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse to a win over Kansas.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has a rich history with the sport of basketball, as well as football. Dating back as far as 1936, the Sugar Bowl has sponsored basketball events in conjunction with the annual football classic. In addition, the Bowl has been a sponsor for multiple local events in the sport.
Following the 2012 event being awarded to New Orleans, Atlanta will host 2013, Dallas will host 2014, Indianapolis will host 2015 and Houston collected the 2016 event.
The NCAA awarded the 2013 Women's Final Four to New Orleans as well, but the two bids are unrelated.